DIANA MUTAKAFIMBO, Lusaka
COACH George Lwandamina is not under pressure to surpass the national team 2009 African Nations Championship (CHAN) record.
Lwandamina was part of the technical bench led by Herve Renard at the 2009 CHAN finals in Ivory Coast where Zambia finished third and striker Given Singuluma scooped the golden boot award with five goals.
In an interview from Johannesburg yesterday after Zambia battled to a goalless draw with South African top side Mamelodi Sundowns, Lwandamina said the Chipolopolo are travelling to Rwanda to compete for honours.
â€œYou cannot go for a tournament without an objective. We always set our hopes very high. We aim high and there is no difference with this particular tournament, but I have no pressure. I donâ€™t work under pressure,â€ he said.
Lwandamina said the players have shown commitment and proved they are worthy being in the team.
The team that has camped in South Africa for six days is today expected to leave for Rwanda ahead of the Group D opener against Zimbabwe on Tuesday.
Mali and Uganda are the other teams in the group.
In yesterdayâ€™s friendly, Lwandamina unleashed Jacob Banda in goal. Dauti Musekwa, Stephen Kabamba, Buchizya Mfune and Salulani Phiri were in defence.
Adrian Chama operated as a defensive midfielder while Mwila Phiri, Mwape Mwelwa, Isaac Chansa and Cletus Chama were dictating play in midfield in a 4-1-4- 1 formation.
Christopher Katongo was a lone striker in this match that Chipolopolo first-choice goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene lined up for Sundowns.
In the second half, Lwandamina introduced another team that had Racha Kola between the sticks.
Donashano Malama, Solomon Sakala, Christopher Munthali and George Chilufya were in defence while Jackson Chirwa anchored the midfield that comprised Benson Sakala, Spencer Sautu, Patson Daka and Adamson Mulao.
Conlyde Luchanga was a lone striker.
â€œWe went into the game with certain objectives. We know it is important to win but other objectives are more important than results and I can safely say we managed to achieve those objectives. We are solid. I am happy with how we are pressing and closing gaps.
â€œThe essence of these training games, like I have consistently said is not so much the scoreline but looking at how much we have progressed with our preparations. We are creating chances and in the first half alone, we had eight clear chances to score, more than we created in one-half alone in our 2-1 win over Angola. Now we have to work at translating those chances into goals. We are solid all round and I am sure we will be ready and very competitive,â€ Lwandamina said.
Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane hailed the hard work of the Zambians and wished the Chipolopolo well in Rwanda.
Chipolopolo skipper Katongo said the team is on the right track and called on Zambian fans for support.
â€œWe are at 90 percent and have done lots of work. What remains now is the 10 percent which is the tactical part. Otherwise, we are set and appeal to the fans to support us because we are going out there to perform and make them proud,â€ Katongo said.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) have asked the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) to mediate in a contract dispute with national team coach Calisto Pasuwa, VICTOR KUMWENDA reports.
The negotiations between Pasuwaâ€™s representatives and ZIFA have stalled following the coachâ€™s rejection of US$3,000 (about K33,750) salary.
ZIFA wants the coachâ€™s future resolved before the Warriors leave for the CHAN finals.
According to The Herald, Pasuwa wants US$7,000 (about K78,000) salary.
The former Dynamos trainer, who has worked for 15 months without a contract, feels ZIFAâ€™s offer is unrealistic.
DIANA MUTAKAFIMBO, Lusaka